Gorillaz – The Now Now Review

I was quite worried when I heard that a new Gorillaz album would be coming so soon after the last, with the collab-heavy Humanz being released just over a year ago in April 2017. There was no need to worry.

A lot has changed since 2017 in the world of Gorillaz, with Murdoc currently in Jail and temporarily replaced by Ace, ex-traumatiser of the Powerpuff Girls. This has left 2D in charge of the music, and with the album we have got out of it I wouldn’t rush to free Murdoc.

Opening track and lead single Humility is a lovely, bouncy, summery song that features George Benson and is very catchy indeed; the song’s slick, shimmery production continues throughout the album and the quality of the tracks is consistently brilliant.

Second track Tranz is an album highlight, a complete contrast to the breezy Humility, it is a dark, groovy synth track that shows how varied and interesting a Gorillaz project can be without the need for an onslaught of features.  Hollywood is another groovy cut, featuring Humanz staple Jamie Principle and a great verse from Snoop that elevates the track. The half spoken/sung chorus really works well with the instrumental here as it’s not too over the top.

Another highlight on the album for me is Idaho. A country ballad of sorts, the track sounds amazingly peaceful and grand without being at all bland, being very simple on the surface, but with each listen you notice another little layer there.

Usually i’m not a fan of instrumental tracks, especially in an album context. Lake Zurich is just too much of a bop to ignore though, and instantly becoming one of the most memorable songs off the album.

The album closes with a trio of slower songs, each managing to sound different to the next, with One Percent sounding like a sad distress call from space and Souk Eye’s slow fade out xylophone giving me the feeling of the end of a great movie or gig that you don’t want to end.

This is the best Damon project since 2010’s Plastic Beach, and he has massively topped Humanz, which while I still enjoyed really doesn’t compare much to this.

96%

Best Three: Tranz, Idaho, Souk Eye

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Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino Review.

This is by no means the most immediately catchy or banger-filled album of the year, but it was obviously never meant to be.

Featuring some of Alex Turner’s finest lyrics yet, ‘Tranquility Base’ is a brilliantly deep and masterfully constructed concept album, that after a few listens, might just be up there with some of the best things they have ever done.

Opener ‘Star Treatment’ sets the tone for the album perfectly; with lines like ‘What do you mean you’ve never seen Blade Runner’ this is a really charming and witty set of songs. Thankfully the Yorkshire is clearly heard on this album too, with phrases like ‘anorl’ thrown in for good measure.

Closing track ‘The Ultracheese’ showcases some of Alex’s finest and most personal songwriting to date, while mid album highlight ‘Four Out of Five’ is a real toe-tapper, with Beatles-esque harmonies on the chorus and an infectious groove throughout.

It’s certainly a bold move from the Sheffield lads, but it definitely paid off.

95%

New Release Roundup 20/4/18

Singles

Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry: A great track from Ariana here. As soon as the really infectious beat kicks in after the intro i could tell it was going to be a bop. Ariana’s voice sounds great too here, with the spoken ‘shut your mouth’ refrains adding a real level of personality to the track, and the stronger vocal refrains are also excellent. The instrumental too grows on me with each listen, it’s really well layered with little details that creep in now and again. If the rest of her upcoming album is this good, we’re in for a treat. 96%

Father John Misty

Disappointing Diamonds Are The Rarest of Them All: Another great track from Mr.Misty’s just announced album ‘God’s Favourite Customer’ out on the 1st of June. The usual FJM combination of witty lyrics and intricate melodies is here, and following on from ‘Mr.Tillman’ this is another track that indicates this album will not be as downbeat as Pure Comedy. 80%

Just Dumb Enough To Try: The most stripped back of the tracks we have heard from this new project so far, this song has a beautiful acoustic guitar backing and it really shows off Josh’s voice. 83%

Teleman – Submarine Life: A really groovy, chill instrumental on this new track from Teleman here, again the band have managed to change their sound without losing the charm that they bring into all of their tracks. Great production here from Boxed In too, he seems to work really well with Teleman. 80%

Blossoms – There’s a Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls): This is one of the best tracks Blossoms have released so far. A really catchy hook, chorus and great production make this a great pop track and Tom’s vocals sare very well suited to this production style. Very nice. 85%

Jorja Smith – Blue Lights: Jorja really is one of the best new vocalists in the UK right now, and this track really highlights just how good she is. Nice Dizzee samples near the end too. 80%

 

Kali Uchis – Isolation Review

While the debut album from Colombia-American artist Kali Uchis boasts many impressive features from the likes of Tyler The Creator, Damon Albarn & Jorja Smith, it’s Kali’s vision that shines through.

The singles leading up to the album’s release, like ‘After The Storm’ and ‘Tyrant’ were all brilliant, with each of them having distinct different vibes while still showcasing Kali’s charm. This quality and variety carries through the whole project.

Standout tracks like the irresistibly groovy ‘Your Teeth In My Neck’ and the upbeat Gorillaz-esque ‘In My Dreams’ further showcase her incredible songwriting ability and just how good a performer she is.

Yet another effortless genre-hop comes in the form of the Tame Impala collab ‘Tomorrow’. There isn’t a single track that feels forced or out of place on in the tracklist. Every feature actually adds something to their track rather than just being there for the sake of it.

This debut album proves that Kali is here to stay, and we should all just embrace it.

96%

 

 

New Release Roundup 23/3/18

David Guetta & Sia – Flames: A more groove-led instrumental from DG here than usual, and Sia’s vocals fit the track very well. Really catchy track that very much is an end of credits song for a teen action movie. 70%

Snow Patrol – Don’t Give In: This sound doesn’t appeal to me at all. It sounds like Gary and co have just copied that folk-pop Lumineers sound that was popular in 2015 but with less emotion. 30%

Shawn Mendes – In My Blood: Sounds like an Ed Sheeran song but not as annoying and Shawn sounds like he can actually belt out a tune. Fair enough really all the best to him. 70%

The Vaccines – Your Love Is My Favourite Band: A really poppy, up-tempo track from the Vaccines, with an annoyingly catchy synth riff. ‘Combat Sports’ so far is The Vaccines at their best. 80%

 

Let’s Eat Grandma – Falling Into Me: Another great, weird pop single from Let’s Eat Grandma. The amazing production and a beautiful, jittery instrumental really make this track, and the way it builds up and develops at the end really make this special. 91%